Editor's note: Oluwafemi Popoola, a political analyst and news aggregator, writes on the wind of change around Nigeria's political atmosphere, arguing that it is as a result of the issue-driven campaign of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo before the APC presidential primaries. He can be reached via email@example.com.
Professor Yemi Osinbajo's presidential ambition may appear to have been clouded by a veil of mist, given his primary election loss at the All Progressives Congress (APC) convention. The ruling APC chose its candidate in the person of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was adjudged the winner of the presidential primaries and was handed the party’s flag. What this means is that Osinbajo's name will not be included among the 18 presidential candidates that will contest the 2023 elections except if something unusual happens.
Osinbajo may not have clinched the party's ticket but his firm belief in the emergence of a new Nigeria exudes hope to millions of Nigerians, especially the youth who have unrelentingly advocated for a new generation of leaders in the entire governance structure. The strong belief in a new Nigeria as initiated by the VP has reinforced hope in the hopeless Nigerian situation, and given his vehement convictions of achieving a Nigerian tribe he says "where all will be treated fairly, justly and with respect. Where all are given equal access to the abundant opportunities that God has bestowed on this nation."
Osinbajo's movement for a new Nigeria has commenced and it's already spreading across the nation. The Nigerian youth are the drivers. So like bees in the hive, many have swarmed to queue behind the Labour Party Presidential candidate, Peter Obi, who the majority of them see as the nearest alternative to Vice President Osinbajo. What happened at the APC convention, undoubtedly, has benefitted greatly the aspiration of the former PDP vice presidential candidate.
Nigerians seriously desire a change in the polity and many are already x-raying their options ahead of 2023. The prevalent mental picture of this desired change is identical to the unpalatable situation the biblical Jews found themselves in when they wanted to be delivered from the dungeon of bondage and hopelessness.
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Prof Osinbajo has shown us that if you stick to your beliefs and communicate them well, you can help others to understand your perspective and ideology, no matter the circumstances. In VP Osinbajo's address to the large crowd of his supporters after the APC convention, the VP officially unveiled his New Nigeria plan. He described the clamour for a new Nigeria as a movement.
He had gone to the Wuse, Abuja campaign office of The Progressives Project (TPP), a coalition of support groups that backed his presidential bid. There, he was greeted by an excited crowd of supporters and members of the various supporters' groups already waiting.
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The large group of people, chanting PYO! PYO! as Prof Osinbajo made his way into the compound and to the elevated section, which had a large banner of the VP as background, he thanked all his supporters at TPP and across the country for their dedication to the cause and passion for the birth of a new Nigeria.
VP Osinbajo said:
“This movement is a movement within a party also, we are not doing something that has not been heard of before. What is new is that we have a firm belief that a new Nigeria is possible and it is possible through us who are here.
“We went to the convention, and the results showed us clearly that we lost, but it is only a battle, it is not the war. There are battles ahead, but we will win the war for a new Nigeria. I have no doubt in my mind that we will win that war for a new Nigeria. That is why our movement for a new Nigeria must remain strong and firm. And we will do everything to keep our movement strong and solid.”
Passionate people and patriotic lots with standards and convictions for a better Nigeria can relate more to the inspiring words of the vice president. Also, those who care about optics and their import on governance and development would agree that the country needs a rebirth, not only that most of our cultural and democratic values are otiose which are antithetical to progress. The country desperately needs to be reborn.
Osinbajo's above statements to his supporters reverberate hope for the country. Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push and hope that things will get better. When trials came and circumstances got more difficult, Osinbajo took the trials in stride. The vice president stuck to what he believed in and did not sway nor succumb to immense pressure to withdraw or step down for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
As a result of his tenacity, he got passionate Nigerians across ethnic and religious lines canvassing for him selflessly and devotedly with the aim and deep passion for a new Nigeria. They knew that Nigeria, as presently configured, is unyielding to social justice, equality, good governance, economic prosperity and fairness hence, the call for a restructured Nigeria.
Osinbajo’s many achievements in office established his uncommon passion for Nigeria. His faith and belief in the rebirth of Nigeria are reassuring, so also his track record in nation-building is worth commending. As the country’s vice president, he has built a reputation of excellence for himself by spearheading different projects in government, all of which are people-friendly, impactful and transformational.
Osinbajo is driven by his belief in a New Nigeria Dream and this was his motivation for aspiring for the highest office of the land. Now, whatever the future holds for his political ambition, millions of his support base are willing to sail in the oceans of that dream and wait until tomorrow comes.
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